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Film / Deep End

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Deep End is a 1970 British-German cult film written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, starring Jane Asher, John Moulder Brown, and Diana Dors.

Brown plays a fifteen-year-old boy named Mike who starts a new job at a London bathhouse and falls in love with his co-worker, the beautiful Susan (Asher), who's ten years his senior. His love, however, turns into a growing obsession which threatens to become deadly.

The film was a minor hit with the cult scene following its release, then largely forgotten as it was unavailable for decades owing to legal issues. In 2011, a digitally restored print was shown in UK cinemas and given a remastered DVD/Blu-ray release, where it continued to receive positive reviews.


  • Age-Gap Romance: At 25, Susan is a full decade older than the teenaged Mike.
  • Bathhouse Blitz: The bathhouse is not a particularly nice place to work, with mass sexual harassment. But also Mike kills Susan in the adjacent swimming pool.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Not for Susan, who is definitely dead. But Mike embraces Susan's dead body in the water as it floods in and live electrical wires dangle down, but his death is not confirmed.
  • Coming of Age Story: It starts out as one of these for Mike before things take a weirder and darker turn.
  • Dirty Old Man: The swimming instructor is married with children, but is not only having an affair with the younger Susan, he's also incredibly inappropriate with his teenaged students and is seen touching and groping them. Susan makes the cutting remark that they're only excited by his attention because they're not old enough to recognize that he's a loser.
  • Establishing Character Moment: One of Susan's first significant moments after giving Mike a tour of the pool is to offhandedly insult his mother, apropos of nothing. Mike is predictably upset, but when he tries a No, You retort, she casually remarks that her own mother is dead, which causes Mike to feel guilty and try to win her affection back — overall a pretty telling Foreshadowing of their dynamic.
  • Harmful to Minors: Mike's job involves Susan more or less pimping him out to guests for extra tips, which causes him to explore his sexual development in a twisted and unhealthy way.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Susan is a massive Lust Object for Mike and has distinctive red hair.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Mike does not take it well when Susan tries to walk away.
  • Love Triangle: Mike is obsessed with Susan, who is engaged to Chris, a man she feels ambivalently towards but is willing to take advantage of his financial security.
  • Loving a Shadow: It's not really Susan that Mike wants, more than it is the idea of Susan, and he reacts badly when her manipulative mask slips and she shows her true, frustrate side. In the end, he cradles her dead body the same way he cradled the cardboard cutout of her.
  • Lust Object: Mike is sexually fixated on Susan, going so far as spying on her and groping her in a cinema.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Susan alternately rebuffs Mike and flirts with him. She's equally hot and cold with her fiance.
  • No Name Given: Mike, Susan, and Chris are the only named characters in the film, despite a robust supporting cast.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Mike molests Susan in the cinema in the dark. She's visibly intrigued and pleased, only reports him to then skip out on it, and gets over it immediately.
  • Oh, Crap!: Susan is a master manipulator, but she quickly loses composure when a needy Mike refuses to let her leave, and she realizes that she's way out of her depth.
  • The Peeping Tom: Mike frequently spies on Susan, including her having sex with her fiancé.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Mike's obsession with Susan causes him to avoid other relationships, while demanding more from her, culminating in trying to destroy the car she's driving.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: When Mike is forcefully ducked by bullies at the swimming pool, he imagines himself floating peacefully through the water as a naked Susan swims past him. It receives a Cerebus Call-Back when Susan floats equally serenely through the water...because she's dead.
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Susan seems fine for a moment after Mike hits her with the lamp, stumbling to the end of the pool...and then she falls down dead.